The firing and re-hiring of Erwin Chemerinsky as founding dean of the UC Irvine Donald Bren School of Law was used to silence professors, academics, students and left-wing activists critical of the Bush administration. The message that right-wing activists wanted to convey was ‘shut up or we’ll shut you up.’
Unfortunately, this ‘incident’ is not an isolated one. The same purging process is happening all across the United States. Ward Churchill, Edward Valandra, Norman Finkelstein, Mehrene Larudee, Richard Murphey, Patrick Harker and many more have been intimidated or blacklisted by Republican organizations.
As the administration of President George W. Bush closes our society through legalized torture, 935 lies about Iraq and Iran and the use of a taser on a student at the University of Florida, the state-run university system is manipulated to serve radical right-wing interest groups.
As a result, questioning professors are consistently blacklisted, fired and threatened. Today, it could be the near loss of Chemerinsky’s job, but what could it be tomorrow? Could this intimidation result in a sentence at Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib? Where is the line of civil liberty crossed? Who, we need to ask, draws this line?
What happened in the 96 hours between UCI Chancellor Michael Drake’s invitation to Chemerinsky and Drake’s withdrawal of the offer remains a mystery. ‘On Tuesday, [Drake] referred to people opposing me, but he never identified them,’ Chemerinsky said. However, articles for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times both reported that conservative business leaders said that ‘Chemerinsky would be a bad choice for the business community of Orange County.’
We can expect nothing else in a society run by corporations that put profit over people (think New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, or the recent wildfires in Southern California). The interests of minorities, the poor, and the shrinking middle class